Afeni Shakur who passed away this week at the age of 69, was widely known for birthing one of history's most influential figures, Tupac Shakur. Before the icon was born, her legacy stems back to her role as a Black Panther in the 1960's and 70's, in the era where she fought for the liberation of black people. Shakur was loved deeply by her son who in 1996, called her a "black queen" in his song, "Dear Mama." With resilience, Shakur laid down a foundation for her children that she discovered through her own journey to self-awareness and black pride.
In the 1960s, Afeni Shakur joined the Black Panther Party after seeing Bobby Seale give a speech on 125th Street in Harlem.
In her biography, "Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary," she explained the experience to the author, Jasmine Guy.
"So there I was wrapped in my Africanness. For the first time, loving myself and loving, now that there was something I could do with my life. There was now something I could do with all this aggression, and all this fear…. So, the Panther Party for me, at that time, clarified my situation. They took my rage and channeled it against them, instead of us. They educated my mind and gave me direction. With that direction came hope, and I loved them for giving me that…. They took me and looked at me and said, 'Afeni, you are strong, so use your strength to help the weak. You are smart, so use your mind to teach the ignorant.' And that’s what I did."
In 1970, as a member of the Panther 21, Shakur was arrested with 20 other Black Panthers for allegedly conspiring to bomb landmarks in New York City.
While Shakur was pregnant with her son Tupac, she defended herself on trial without representation and was acquitted of all 156 charges.
After using her intellect to beat the case, one month and three days later, Tupac Shakur was born.